My Experience with Cutting Out Sugar for 30 Days

My Experience with Cutting Out Sugar for 30 Days | Cobalt Chronicles | Washington, DC | Fashion Blogger

You may remember that at the beginning of April, in my April Goals post, I shared that I was going to attempt to give up sugar for the month of April (excluding our five days in Italy).  I received a lot of interest on this topic, so I figured I’d share my experience with cutting out sugar for 30 days!  Today is the last day of the challenge, perfect timing for a little recap!

Initial Thoughts

Going into this challenge, I knew it was going to be tough.  Yes, I gave up alcohol for a month (twice) and yes, I gave up meat for forty days, but sugar … Just to give you a little background on where I started, before the challenge, I had gotten in an awful habit of eating candy almost every single day at work.  It’s free at my office, like canisters upon canisters of Chewy Spree, M&Ms, Mike and Ike … you name it.  I’ve always had a sweet tooth, and Michael and I generally keep ice cream on hand at home.  I’d say I ate dessert after dinner at least five nights a week (not a lot, maybe just a couple of spoonfuls of ice cream, but still).

Not only did I know that kicking these two habits was going to be difficult, I knew that there were hidden sugars in a lot of the foods I was eating, and I wanted to cut those out too.  For example, greek yogurt, bagels, pasta … All staples in my diet, but they have tons of added sugar!  Michael and I usually use Instacart for grocery delivery, but right before we started this challenge, we went to the grocery store for a big haul so we could really look at the labels on the foods we were eating.  For the most part, we generally eat pretty healthy when we’re at home (we cook at home at least four nights a week).  There were three things that I had to cut out of my diet that were pretty big staples for me: yogurt, bagels, and granola (I tried making my own sugar-free version, not the same).  I found a brown rice pasta brand that has zero sugars and actually tastes pretty good (Jovial).

Hardest Part

This challenge was much more difficult than giving up alcohol or meat.  Going into it, I thought that the first week or two might be hard, but I thought that after that it would be smooth sailing.  Wrong.  The first two to three days were the absolute hardest.  I had a serious headache the first few days, I could tell a dramatic difference in my energy levels, and I was SO hungry by the time the afternoon rolled around.  These symptoms passed after a few days though.

The hardest part for me is the post-dinner dessert.  I still crave something sweet after dinner.  And I miss yogurt.

What I Learned

Going into this challenge, I was expecting to physically feel so much better.  Like when I cut out alcohol, there’s a noticeable difference in how I physically feel.  But that didn’t really happen.  Although I haven’t physically felt different, mentally, I feel great.  There’s something nice about knowing I’m not putting crap into my body on the regular.

I learned through this process that sugar is in fact addictive.  The fact that I had withdrawal-like symptoms over the first few days was enough to convince me of the addictive nature of sugar.  Something like that can’t be good for us, right?!

The entire process was a learning experience.  I learned what breads have only 1 gram of sugar (Vermont Bread), I learned that I should add my own fruit to plain greek yogurt instead of buying the fruit flavored yogurt, I learned that gluten-free brown rice pasta is just as good as other boxed pastas, and I found a new brand of almond milk and coconut creamer that I love (Califia Farms)!

Will I Continue to Cut Out Sugar?

The short answer: yes, but not completely.  I plan on sticking to no candy during the work week (it’s just unnecessary).  I plan on putting what I learned to use.  I’ll definitely be adding greek yogurt back into my diet, but like I mentioned, I’m trying to stick to the plain yogurt and add toppings of my own.  I now know to look at the back of the granola bags and pick the one with the least amount of sugar.  And I’m definitely going to attempt to keep the post-dinner desserts to a minimum.  I love ice cream too much to cut this out completely.

Have you completed a no-sugar challenge?  What was the hardest part?  What were the takeaways?!  Any zero sugar foods I should try?!  Drop your thoughts in the comment section below!

My Experience with Cutting Out Sugar for 30 Days | Cobalt Chronicles | Washington, DC | Fashion Blogger

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  1. Monica wrote:

    Polished off half a Costco muffin while reading this (how I convince myself “it’s not that bad” is by eating only half…hahaaaa) and intrigued that it you didn’t feel physically different! That sort of makes me less inclined to try going cold turkey vs. just paring down, and the latter seems way more reasonable. The candy bowl thing is so real…I used to take two pieces a day and now take none or only one if there’s something REALLY good in there!

    Posted 4.30.18
    • Ashlee wrote:

      The candy is always just so readily available! I feel better about myself not eating sugar because I know it’s better for me … and I guess that makes me feel better! But yeah, I didn’t notice a huge physical difference.

      Posted 4.30.18
  2. Darlene McHalffey wrote:

    Enjoyed reading this. I’m trying to cut out sugar but it is so hard

    Posted 4.30.18
    • Ashlee wrote:

      Thanks Darlene! It is SO hard! Every night I just want something sweet to cap off the day! Once I start doing something else though, it kind of takes my mind off of it. Like I mentioned in the post though, it’s definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to cut out/give up eating wise.

      Posted 4.30.18
  3. Sophie P Z wrote:

    I haven’t had sugar/bread/pasta/potatoes/fruit (I know, but hear me out) since feb and the first couple days were horrible for me too. However I lost about 10 pounds almost immediately and I noticed my computer eye strain went away. I will also drop the diet when we go to Italy in late June. Thank you for sharing this!

    Posted 4.30.18
    • Ashlee wrote:

      Sophie – That is impressive! I definitely want to add in a no carb challenge one month this year and try to do no bread, pasta, potatoes etc. The eye strain disappearing is fascinating! It’s crazy how changing up our diets can have such a huge impact on our bodies!

      Posted 5.2.18
  4. Tress Johnson wrote:

    Enjoyed reading this to see your thoughts…glad you tried if first 🙂

    Something to think about and look for when I’m reading labels. You have inspired me to definitely cut back! People talk of cutting out carbs a lot which seems easier but I don’t hear about sugar often. There is sugar in so much we don’t even think about…seems more difficult. Something to think about!

    Posted 5.1.18
    • Ashlee wrote:

      A friend recommended I watch Katie Couric’s “Fed Up” on Netflix, which is all about how sugar is in EVERYTHING we eat here in the U.S. It’s on my list to watch this weekend! I think it will be an even bigger eye opener!

      I might try cutting out carbs as a challenge down the road, I think it would be easier in a sense of easily being able to pick out the carb foods and say no – you’re exactly right that it’s hard to know what all has sugar in it these days (but basically everything!).

      Posted 5.2.18
  5. Jackie wrote:

    Zero sugar sounds so hard! Precisely for the reason you stated – it’s hidden in everything!! You are a better person than me for doing it for a month!

    Posted 5.2.18
    • Ashlee wrote:

      It was definitely a challenge!

      Posted 5.3.18

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